CFHS code : ED131
Parish : St Edward
Inscription : In Loving Remembrance of ROBERT ROE d July 31 1880 in his 88th year
Monument : Headstone
Above information from Cambridge Family History Society Survey
Lat Lon : 52.203219, 0.13649079 – click here for location
This gothic-arched headstone, panelled and with floral decorative carving, in the parish area of St Edward (Sexton row I, grave 1 (which includes the grave of Mary Elizabeth Roe and Mary Ray), is located to the left of the western path beyond the path to the centre circle (going northwards), against the west boundary wall. (According to the sexton’s book, Robert is buried 8 feet deep.)
In loving remembrance of Robert Roe
who died July 31 1880 in his 88th year
[illegible line below]
Robert Roe (c.1792‒ 31 July 1880)
Robert Roe was born in Needham Market in Suffolk, the son of Joseph and Jemima Roe. He appears to have had an early military career and was in the 20th Light Dragoons in 1815. It is believed he moved to Cambridge around 1818. By 1823 he was married to Mary Elizabeth Edleston. Robert was an engraver, miniaturist and print maker – the family lived at 14 Kings Parade.
It is said that Robert was acquainted with Edward Fitzgerald and W M Thackeray. He was also a founder member of the Printsellers’ Association, attending the inaugural meeting in London in 1847.
Mary and Robert had at least five children: Robert Henry [1823-1905], Ellen [1825-], Owen [1827-1877], Emily [1829-1890] and Mary Matilda [1835-1907]. Mary died in March 1856, and Robert was widowed.
He married for a second time to Maria Plees at St Matthews Church in Ipswich on 1st September 1859. They continued to live at 14 Kings Parade, and in 1861 Robert was described on the census as an ‘engraver, print seller and carver. Gilder and plate glaze factory employing two men and a boy’. He went on to have at least three more children with Maria: Rev. Robert Gordon [1860-1927], Rev. Charles Edward [1862-1940] and Alfred Frederick [1864-1947]. He died at Kings Parade aged 88 years old.
Robert would appear to have been quite a printmaker of his time, and his work and publications appear in the National Portrait Gallery. Several of his sons became painters – Robert Henry Roe from his first marriage was a fine Victorian landscape painter, his sone from his second marriage Alfred [Fred] Roe was also a noted local artist. Even his grandchildren became artists – most notable Clarence Roe.
By Ian Bent and Claire Martinsen